The New Google Shopping: 15 FAQs - CPC Strategy

Google Shopping is coming (cue jaws theme music), so if you are selling online you should learn all you can about the new comparison shopping engine (CSE).

So here are the answers to all of your questions about Google Shopping.

These questions will start with the basic’s of Google Shopping, so if you are already familiar with the what, when and why of Google Shopping, skip to question 2.

1. What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping is Google’s new take on Google Product Search, a paid CSE which is designed to give users the most relevant and qualified query information possible. Google Shopping will start to take effect in July 1, and transition to a fully paid cost per click (CPC) engine by October.

2. How Will Google Shopping Be Managed?

As a comparison shopping engine, Google Shopping will be managed on the product, and category bidding level, NOT by keyword bidding. Merchants will manage their product bidding through the Adwords login, and continue to send data feeds through the Google Merchant Login.

3. Will Google Trusted Stores Affect Google Shopping Rankings?

Google announced the expansion of Google Trusted Stores on Thursday, which is a great opportunity for merchants to gain new customers for free.

Google Trusted Stores will more than likely be given a  boost in relevancy on Google Shopping. Since retailers are required to share their shipping information with Google, Trusted Stores is an easy way for Google to determine reliable sellers.

If you are willing to share this data with Google, prove that you ship reliably, and provide quality customers service, then becoming a Google Trusted will undoubtedly benefit your relevancy on Google properties.

4. Will Google be Removing Comparison Pages on Google Product Search?

Comparison pages will NOT be going away with the arrival of Google Shopping. Google claims they will actually be improving comparison pages to further enhance the user experience.

Here  is what the new Google Shopping in Google search will look like:

Google Search listings with Google Shopping live in June

5. What Do the Changes for Google Shopping mean for Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS)?

At the moment, any advertisements in Google Product Search or Google Search are labeled as ‘Ads’. With the new Google Shopping, any Google Shopping results which are applicable to Google Search will show up along with free organic search listings, as paid shopping results.

Here is what Google SERP will look like with the influence of Google Shopping:

Paid Google Shopping products on free Google Search

6. How does Google determine the Cost Per Click (CPC) for Google Shopping?

Google will be charging merchants a CPC charge for each click generated in Google Shopping. However, instead of implementing a minimum CPC rate, Google will determine ranking based on what bids merchants chose. So if another seller is only bidding 6 cents, and you are bidding 7, you will potentialy rank products higher than that competitor (pending product relevancy, and the Google Shopping algorithm).

With Google Shopping you will also have the option to bid on products as low as a $.01 CPC. However, this lower bid would correspond with the amount of potential traffic a seller could generate.

7. How will Google Shopping Affect Smaller Merchants?

Smaller merchants with limited budgets may not be able to afford to scale on Google Shopping, depending on what they chose to bid. Smaller sellers should consider using $.01 bids on Google Shopping to compensate for spend, and maintain listings.

8. Who can Sell on Google Shopping?

Merchants who sell vehicles, guns, ammunition, knives, tobacco/ cigarettes, traffic devices, gambling products, or products which require a software purchase are prohibited to list on Google Shopping.

9. Will Google+ affect Google Shopping Rankings?

According to Google, Google+ data will not influence the relevancy algorithm for Google Shopping. However, based on the advances of Search Plus Your World on Google Search, and Google’s recent acquisition of Meebo (Social platform specializing in social publishing tools), Google+ is definitely a social platform marketers should invest in.

10. What Does Google Shopping Mean for SEO?

Although Google repeatedly claims they are not out to attack SEO, experts in the SEO field tend to disagree.

At SMX Advanced Seattle,leading SEO’s shared mixed feelings about how Google Shopping will affect SEO.

“Google is just like a drug dealer..” noted  Rae Hoffman-Dolan, CEO, PushFire (@sugarrae).

Read  more about what the top SEOs have to say about Google Shopping here.

11. What Does this Mean for Google Merchant Customer Service?

Google Product Search has notoriously horrible customer service. As Google moves towards a paid comparison shopping model, one would hope they will improve their customer service, but we have yet to find out.

12. What are the Implications for Google’s Motto?

Many retailers are up in arms about Google Shopping, claiming the move towards paid inclusion flies in the face of Google’s “Do no evil” mantra, shifting from a user centered experience to one geared for profit.

Google Shopping as Froogle (circa 2004) strongly opposed paid listings: “Because we do not charge merchants for inclusion in Froogle, our users can browse product categories or conduct product searches with confidence that the results we provide are relevant and unbiased.” (Bolded for emphasis)

Google Shopping of today believes paid listings are good for the user: “We’re excited about building delightful shopping experiences for consumers in close partnership with merchants. Google Shopping will empower businesses of all sizes to compete effectively–and it will help shoppers turn their intentions into actions lightning fast.”

13. Will Google Shopping Stay Comprehensive?

Google’s advocates that Google Shopping will provide relevant and high quality results for user searches. Charging for listings will eliminate duplicate listings, and weed out less reliable sellers.

With the less reputable sellers though, Google will also be eliminating merchants who cannot afford or adapt to Google Shopping. This would ultimately  limit the seller choices for those shopping on Google Shopping, specifically for long tail searches.

14. Are the new Google Shopping Sponsored SERPs Already Live?

Google is experimenting with the new Google Shopping results actively, so SERPs for different queries will vary as Google continues to test and roll out Google Shopping.

You may see search results which incorporate some changes, such as the search for ‘Canon T3i’ on 6/13, as below:

Google Search results June 13th

Or SERPs which reflect the incorporation of Google Product Listing Ads and Google Search:

Google Shopping and Google Search and PLAs

 

15. How will Google Shopping Overall Traffic Be Affected?

Google Product Search is the top revenue driving comparison shopping engine, and consistently drives a large amount of traffic for retailers. Traffic on Google Shopping is unlikely to reduce significantly (if at all).

 

How Do I Get Started?

Check out our free Whitepaper for information on how to setup and manage Google Shopping.

Get it now!

 

Google Shopping Resources:

Google Shopping in a nut shell:

Google Shopping Overview

Google’s Google Shopping announcement 

Google Shopping FAQ’s

Getting Started with Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

Google Shopping’s implications for merchants:

Why Google Shopping Sucks for Ecommerce Merchants

Google Search and Google Shopping :

Google’s recent acquisition of Meebo (Implications for Google+ and Google Search)

Paid Hotel Ads on Google Search: Paid listings in Google Search

Details about Google Trusted Stores:

What is Google Trusted Stores?

Google’s Explanation of Google Trusted Stores

How Does Google Trusted Stores Work?

Customer Protections

Google Seal of Trustworthiness 

Google Trusted Stores vs. Amazon Prime

 

 

About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, with extensive experience in all things retail search, Ecommerce, Google Shopping and digital marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. See all posts by this author here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000792442246 Umair Amjad Ali

    Very Nice post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816466359 Audra Hendrix

    Google shopping is not the worst comparison tool ever. If the merchant you’re looking for (read small business) can’t afford to pay enough, you won’t see them listed AT ALL anymore. Here, try searching for a 28PX silver battery and then click on the shopping link, not only do you get mostly not batteries, but only 1 or two merchants that were willing to pay for it are even listed. BOOOOOOOOO Google

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1042174097 Ronald G. Nixon

    Despite what Google says, Google Shopping is bad for small businesses that do not have big advertising budgets.

    I did a local search for a toy company that I just started carrying in my store. Only one page was returned. It was almost all ads from one competitor and a couple of ads from big corporations.

    At the bottom of the page was: In order to show you the most relevant results, some have been omitted. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.

    When I clicked on the above link, my site, which I’ve started optimizing for this product, was at the bottom of page one along with 38,000 results that wern’t there until I clicked on the link to show omitted results.

    I stopped watching commercial television because of the wall to wall constant commerccials. Is this what we have to look forward too with the new Google shopping? Maybe shoppers will catch on and stop using Google when they realize their results are based on who pays the most for ads and nothing else.